Trial against milk manufacturer and hospital after baby dies


Trial milk bottle[1] has started


[1] The original title sais ‘papfles’, which would translate as ‘bottle of porridge’.

DENDERMONDE – Monday NV Nestlé, manufacturer of powdered milk for infant formula, and a couple of members of the hospital staff of the ASH of Aalst were committed to trial in front of the court of justice. The ten accused persons are charged for the unintentional killing of the seven day old baby Natan in March 2002, by lack of precautions.

The baby was infected by a bacterium in a bottle of formula[1]. Natan finished that bottle just before he left the hospital. After that he fell ill and wouldn’t eat any more. Finally the baby became completely dehydrated and died.

Autopsy showed the bacterium had caused meningitis. Specialists of the court investigated the case and concluded that he unhygienic conditions of preparing milk in the ASZ of Aalst had caused the death of the baby.

Therefore those responsible for the hygienic situation of the hospital: pediatricians, midwife and general manager were summoned to court. According to the .. NV Nestle had not been clear enough on the labels of the formula and should have given more information about correct storing of bottles of milk. All those accused deny fault and ask for acquittal. Verdict: September 17.



Monday June18, 2007 | Source: Belga

Trial against milk manufacturer and hospital after baby dies

Same article as above, but different title.

Tuesday June 19, 2007

Parents accuse [2]Nestlé and Aalst hospital.

Het zoontje van Nathalie Van der Borgt en Jos Geerinck overleed zeven dagen na de geboorte.Hendrik De Rycke

Nathalie Van der Borgt and Jos Geerinck's son died seven days after his birth

© Hendrik De Rycke


Natan died from a bacterium in the milk for which producer Nestle failed to warn.


Yesterday the trial against some members of the board of the General City Hospital (ASZ) of Aalst, two nurses and the midwife of the maternity ward, the chief physician and two pediatricians started before the Dendermonde court of justice. The food manufacturer Nestlé also faced trial, as manufacturer of the formula for infants in the ASZ. The hospital and the company are blamed to have unintentially caused the death of baby Nathan Geerinck ‘by neglectance, lack of hygiene or precautions’

Nathan died on March 17, 2002, seven days after he was born. He had just been discharged of the ASZ of Aalst with his mother. He had had a last bottle of formula in the hospital that afternoon, but at home he wouldn’t eat or drink anymore’, mother Nathalie Van der Borgt says.

The parents took their baby to the paediatrician on call immediately. This paediatrician advised them to give diluted formula and wait over night. ‘But he wouldn’t eat anything and his condition weakened visibly’, the mother says.

The next morning, the parents brought their baby to the emergency department of the ASZ panicking. Natan appeared to be completely dehydrated. The paediatrician tried to save his life with drips and antibiotics. The baby was rushed to the Gent university hospital, but died there that night.

Autopsy showed the baby had died from the bacterium Enterobacter Sakazakii. Manufacturer Netslé immediately took all formula from the ASZ in Aalst and also withdrew the full lot from the market. Investigation by the company in Switzerland showed that the type of Sakazakii bacterium in the lot of formula was identical to the one in the tissues of the deceased baby. ‘But the bacterium was only present in the formula in a very small percentage of 4 in 100 gram, wich is way below the permitted standard’, Nestlé’s lawyer insists.

Still the manufacturer kept completely quiet about the Swiss investigation. ‘The results only became known after a house-search at Nestlés’, the parents lawyer says.

Specialist furthermore established that the Sakazakii bacterium can develop strongly at insufficient hygiene while preparing the formula, and storing the bottles too warm. That’s where the maternity ward of the ASZ would be to blame. For instance the food inspection found the milk room in the maternity ward was not closed to the public. The milk in about sixty bottles was over 8 degrees to warm. The temperature of the refrigerator was not checked twice daily and was about eleven degrees, where four degrees is the obligatory standard.

‘This was a moment’s view and the milk had just been prepared and hadn’t cooled down completely. Furthermore there hasn’t been identified a problem with the formula in a single other baby that was born at the time in the ASZ’, lawyers of the board and the nursing staf of the ASZ say.

A fact is that all manufacturers of formula, including Nestle, have warned for the bacterium worldwide since the death of Natan. Since they advise against preparation of bottles of formula in advance and storing them in the refrigerator and advise to discard leftovers of formula in the bottle.

“When our baby was born, that was not stated in the instructions. We weren’t warned against this dangerous bacterium’, father Jos Geerinck and mother Nathalie Van der Borght say. The verdict will be known in September. (dbs)



[1] Again the word bottle of porridge is used.

[2] Word translates both as accuse, blame and charge